Forest: Experience, knowledge, and the ability to find common ground

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Claudio Forest, Flower Mound Place 5 Councilmember

Early voting starts Tuesday, October 13, 2020. It may come as a surprise to many Flower Mound residents that this year’s Town Council candidates are on the ballot as well.

Over the last few weeks, there have been two candidate debates which have highlighted the areas that my opponent and I agree on and, more importantly, areas that distinguish us from one another, including:

Public Safety – This has and always will be my top priority. It is why I have worked to get two additional fire stations built in our town. When my opponent supported a tax cut, which would have been paid for by limiting the compensation of our police and fire personnel as well as other town employees, I worked with Town Council members to immediately reject the proposal. Both the Flower Mound Professional Firefighters Association and the Flower Mound Police Association have endorsed my re-election because they know I work hard to help keep our town safe.

Property Taxes – During my time on Town Council, we have lowered property taxes by reducing the tax rate and increasing the Homestead Exemption. This was achieved because Flower Mound has been successful in establishing quality economic development and grown our tax base. If re-elected, I will work diligently with council and town staff to continue successfully on this path to keeping our property taxes low.

Trees – Flower Mound is honored to be designated as a Tree City. However, as much as we love trees, Town Council is forced from time to time to also consider the rights of landowners. Council has been warned by our attorney that failure to do so could result in the Texas Legislature further limiting our ability to protect our trees. I have worked to improve our Tree Ordinance while maintaining the required balance. I am proud to say that our Tree Ordinance is, legally speaking, one of the toughest ordinances in Texas. No protected or specimen tree can be removed without it being replaced with an equivalent number of caliper inches. I admire my opponent’s desire to save more trees, however, based on advice of our legal counsel, this would likely lead to the Texas Legislature further limiting our ability to do so.

Park Fees – Flower Mound’s ordinance that governs park fees paid by new developments was out of date when I was first elected. This led to confusing contracts with developers that left many residents questioning the fairness of these agreements. I agreed and joined with my fellow Town Council members at the time to ask Town staff and our Parks Board to propose a new park ordinance to address this issue. I am pleased that our new and current ordinance passed unanimously in 2019.

Flower Mound, Texas and the entire U.S. are dealing with some of the most challenging economic and public health crises in our lifetime. Elected leaders need experience, knowledge, and the ability to work with every stakeholder to find common ground to resolve problems successfully. Since I have been on Town Council, I have approached each issue in this same manner. In situations where divisive opposition exists, governing in a democracy requires equitable compromise. My record on Town Council supports that I have done this time and time again.

I am asking for your vote this election season. Regardless of who you support, make sure you vote. When you do vote, make sure you cast your vote in every race. Flower Mound Town Council races are at the bottom of the ballot this year.

If you have any questions, please contact me at: www.facebook.com/claudioforestflowermound

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